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What Customers Want

Reading List

What Customers Want

Gus Myer

By: Anthony Ulwick

Companies have understood the fundamental philosophies that define the basics of the customer-driven paradigm without too much of a problem. By using customer "requirements" to guide growth and innovation, you are following this line of thought. However, twenty years into this movement, breakthrough innovations are still hard to come by as most companies are finding that 50 to 90 percent of their innovation initiatives fail. The cost of these unsuccessful initiatives in U.S. alone is estimated to have a worth that that is well over $100 billion per year.

This book challenges everything you have learned about being customer driven. Internationally acclaimed innovation leader Anthony Ulwick reveals the secret weapon behind some of the most successful companies of recent years. The concept is known as "outcome-driven innovation" and this revolutionary approach to the creation of new products and services transforms innovation from a nebulous art into a rigorous science which eliminates randomness and uncertainty.

Based on more than 200 studies spanning more than seventy companies and twenty-five industries, Ulwick contends that, when it comes to innovation, the traditional methods companies use to communicate with their customers are the base for the chronic waste and missed opportunity that riddles the business world. In What Customers Want, Ulwick demonstrates that all popular qualitative research methods yields information that has good intentions but is ultimately grossly unfit to deliver on its promises and that serves to derail the innovation process. Rather than accepting customer inputs such as "needs," "benefits," "specifications," and "solutions," Ulwick argues that researchers should silence the literal "voice of the customer" and focus on the "metrics that customers use to measure success when executing the jobs, tasks or activities they are trying to get done." Using customer desired outcomes as new inputs into the innovation process helps to eliminate most, if not all, of the chaos and variability that typically derails innovation initiatives.

Innovation is the foundation of success and growth in business. By offering a proven alternative to failed customer-driven thinking, this landmark book arms you with the tools to unleash innovation, lower costs, and reduce failure rates. You will create the products and services that your customers really want after engaging with this book and the theory it presents.